(Centralia, WA) The Mark Morris Monarchs came into this match with a 2-0-1 record against upper classification teams while the Centralia Tigers were 0-2 and outscored 10-2 in those 2 matches. It didn’t take long for the Monarchs to jump on the Tigers in the 9th minute Heaven Burr knocked a shot in past Tiger keeper Bailea Brown and it looked like it might be a long night for Brown. But then a funny thing happened, the rain started to fall heavy at times and even though Mark Morris had a lot more shots and literally spent 30 minutes of the 1st half on the Tiger side of the field the Tigers dug in.
The Monarchs did help the defensive effort a bit with several of their shots high and not just by a little missing by a lot. Centralia’s back-line also scrambled and continually put pressure on the Monarch attackers. Makiah Harris, Aaliyah Corona, Carissa Kaut and Lucy Nowicki supported Brown all night when Brown wasn’t making stops herself. The Monarch offense was also their best defense as Chloe Harris, Macie Balkan, Mary Vandenberg, Makenna Crandall and Burr kept the ball on the Tiger side of the field for the match probably 65 of the 80 minutes. They were denied any additional goals but kept the ball away from their own goal.
However, on one of the few offensive opportunities for the Tigers in the 1st half Alayna Miller knocked in the tying goal in the 26th minute. Centralia would have a few other opportunities but as the game started to wind down and no overtime in this non-league match meant a tie would snap the Tigers early losing streak and show they could play with the better teams in SW Washington. Then disaster with literally seconds to play in the match, deep into stoppage time Burr made a break and in trying to rally a defender took her down from behind and there was no question on the foul and it was in the box that gave the Monarchs a penalty kick. As good as Brown was all night she could not resist Macie Balkan’s PK to the left of Brown and into the net for the game winner.
Mark Morris sighed a breath of relief and were happy to get out of town with the win improving to 3-0-1 while it is a heartbreaking loss that the Tigers will still be able to take some good things from and move forward. Our ESN Players of the Game went to the Monarchs Macie Balkan and the Tigers Bailea Brown.